Chutzpah: Leo Rosten


There is a useful word in New York, understood by everyone, and that is chutzpah. The inhabitants of the Hampshire village where I live, on the other hand, look at you blankly if you use the word, although they certainly know how to practise it. The definition I was offered in New York was ‘unmitigated gall’, which does sum it up nicely. However, Leo Rosten has a way of explaining it simply:

Chutzpa is that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

Leo Rosten 1908-1997

The Joys of Yiddish

And how to illustrate it? I offer you two Blue-cheeked Amazon parrots, and you must imagine that whatever the first one is saying to the other is regarded as a supreme example of chutzpah. Via Wikimedia.

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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